A woman who accused a Toronto police officer of raping her told his sexual assault trial Monday that she was afraid of being hurt if she didn’t comply with his demands.
The woman, who cannot be identified, told Const. Vincenzo Bonazza’s trial the alleged incident took place nearly a decade ago during what was supposed to be a casual encounter at her apartment.
“He didn’t take my words, didn’t take my body language,” she said. “I was afraid he was going to hurt me.”
Bonazza has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault at the judge-alone trial.
Court heard that the woman only reported the incident in 2015, after becoming a police officer herself.
“Now I can write that a Toronto cop raped me, no problem, but I couldn’t write that then,” she testified, noting that working on a sexual assault case as an officer made her decide to go forward with her own allegations.
The woman told her supervisor about the alleged incident and then contacted Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which examines allegations of sexual assault involving police. Bonazza was charged in 2016.
Court heard the woman first met Bonazza in September 2008, while he was in his squad car near her home and she was looking for help dealing with an ex-boyfriend.
The woman said she thought she had seen her ex-boyfriend, who had been charged with criminally harassing her, and asked Bonazza to track the licence plate of what she thought was his car. She said Bonazza told her he couldn’t do that.
The woman then ran into Bonazza the next day, when he was out on a bicycle patrol, court heard. A day or two later, the officer called her, the woman testified.
“I didn’t remember giving him my phone number,” she told the court. But, she testified, the officer said he had sushi for her and wanted to drop it off.
The woman thought the situation was strange, but wondered if Bonazza was just making “a kind gesture as a kind police officer,” she said.
The two met at her place where he gave her the food and asked to use the washroom, she testified. On the way out, the woman, a former actress, said she noticed a package containing a DVD of a movie she had appeared in.
“He said ‘maybe we could watch it together sometime,”’ she told court, adding that she thought the officer was making small talk.
Bonazza called a day or two later, the woman testified, and asked if she wanted to watch that movie. He also said he wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship, the woman said.
The officer came over on Sept. 11, the woman said, and while the pair watched the movie, Bonazza kissed her, then unbuttoned her jeans.
“Woah, woah, woah, I don’t do this with anyone who isn’t my boyfriend,” she recalled telling Bonazza.
The woman said Bonazza went on to have sex with her without her consent and later forced her to perform oral sex.
“This is a police officer, nobody would believe me and he’s trained to fight people,” she said. “I think, ‘it’s going to be worse if I fight this.”’
Bonazza’s lawyer, Gary Clewley, focused on inconsistencies in the woman’s previous statements to police and her testimony at a preliminary hearing about her state of undress and other details of the night.
Clewley grilled the woman about her memory “flashes” that helped form her testimony.
“There are snapshot moments of this event that are clear as day,” the woman said.